Since receiving the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Arieh Warshel of USC Dornsife is making an impact on neighborhood students.
This year, Warshel’s transformative research in computational chemistry was interpreted by students in the “Science Inspires Me” poster contest, a USC Science Technology and Research (STAR) program.
The program, which involves more than 2,000 students each year, is an education venture among USC, the Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems Engineering Research Center, Bravo High, El Sereno Middle School and Murchison Elementary School. The contest is designed to promote excellence, connecting USC faculty and researchers on the University Park and Health Sciences campuses.
Winning the poster contest were three students from Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School, one of the USC Family of Schools.
“It was a clean sweep,” said Bravo High Principal Maria Torres-Flores. “It was not at all a surprise that the students are also STAR program participants — a true testament to the importance of excelled science, technology and medical programs in our schools.”
Bravo High, an institution in the Los Angeles Unified School District, serves students who plan to major in health care. The presentation of awards at Bravo High was overseen by Zul Surani, director of HSC Community Partnerships.
“We hope that students have gained some valuable information about our recently named Nobel laureate and that students were inspired to play with science,” Surani said.
Youngster interprets Warshel research
Raqibul Mollah, an 11th grade student, won first place for his interpretation of Warshel’s research.
“This project helped me understand why science is really inspiring,” he said. “It also helped me learn more about this amazing man, a Nobel Prize winner, Arieh Warshel. Through this man, I have learned what science can help you achieve and what it can do for the good of the world and its people.”
Ninth-grader Jin Yi Wu, who combined art and science in her hand-sketched portrait of Warshel, won honorable mention.
“What I like about science is that it is interesting and surprising,” Wu said. “It allows us to understand how and why things happen the way they do and that it can help us interact with the world.”
Another honorable mention went to ninth-grader Alexandra Canjura.
“I love the fact that Professor Warshel is dedicated to doing something he loves,” she said. “I started thinking, oh wow, curiosity and dedication let him be part of history. So if I am able to be led by curiosity, can’t it take me to the unexpected? Why, yes, of course. Even the early humans changed our lives with their curiosity.”